Senate approves President Ruggerio’s
bill to address lead pipes
STATE HOUSE – The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) to address lead pipes in Rhode Island’s water supply system.
The amendment to the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act (2023-S 002A) would create a lead water supply replacement program for both public and private service lines, with a requirement that all affected lines are replaced within 10 years.
“No family should have to worry that their home’s water supply may be poisoning their children. A home should be a safe and nurturing environment, and every family deserves access to safe, lead-free, potable drinking water,” President Ruggerio said. “This legislation will provide new urgency, and much needed additional resources, to this effort, helping us protect our children’s well-being and the health of all Rhode Islanders.”
Financial assistance for lead pipe replacement would be provided through the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, including no-cost options for property owners. To help develop the state’s workforce, the legislation would set requirements for water suppliers and contractors to participate in apprenticeship programs.
The bill would require water suppliers to create a service line inventory no later than Oct. 16, 2024, to determine the existence or absence of lead within each water connection in its service area. It would also establish new notification and reporting requirements for suppliers to ensure transparency in the identification and replacement of service lines containing lead.
Additionally, the bill requires a lead risk assessment be conducted for any home built prior to 2011 as part of any transaction involving the property. Currently, those assessments are required only for homes built prior to 1978.
Rep. William W. O’Brien (D-Dist. 54, North Providence) has sponsored similar legislation (2023-H 5007) in the House of Representatives.